Often cited as Britain’s answer to Tame Impala, Temples fully embrace their comfort zone on sophomore record ‘Volcano’, which was released on March 3rd via Heavenly Records. Teased with album-opener and closer ‘Certainty’/ ‘Strange and Be Forgotten’ as the pick for promotional singles, the album emerges a less cryptic offering from the Kettering psychedelia four piece than their pristine, yet kaleidoscopic debut ‘Sun Structures’.
Beginning with ‘Certainty’, the band demonstrate their ability to combine a polished chorus with a more bass-y and raucous vibe than they’ve delivered before. The ethereal hook makes the song undeniably catchy and was certainly the best pick to preview their second LP. ‘All Join In’ begins like a spaced-out Pink Floyd track, before descending into a somewhat twisted merry-go round chant that wouldn’t be amiss in a horror flick – not that this makes it a bad song whatsoever, but a fascinating pick for the first real album track.
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Switching it up to a more traditional Temples progression, ‘I Wanna Be Your Mirror’, sounds like it could be directly lifted from a deluxe edition of Sun Structures. Speeding up and slowing down perfectly at the right points, the song creates a sense of wonder – of being utterly awestruck – as psychedelic rock rightfully should. What really hits home about Temples though is their ability to deliver a journey in their music – this separates them from hitmaker bands, where their raw talent is more discoverable in their more expansive album tracks than the singles that make them radio-friendly. ‘Oh!’ The Saviour’ is a prime example of this, as it initially starts with a jilted acoustic prelude before ascending into a glorious sun-scorched anthem that is arguably one of the finest choruses on the whole record.
Released just before the album as a standalone promotional track, ‘Born Into The Sunset’, is the poppiest offering from Temples so far, and with the traditional imagery of the sun, eruptions and general loss of ego, it seems the band have devised a failsafe formula for delivering a ‘hit’. ‘How Would You Like to Go?’ is the one track of the album that honestly lets the album down. Plodding along as a filler track does and aiming too much for that space-y feel discussed earlier, the hook becomes generally annoying rather than one that lingers for good reasons alone. ‘Open Air’ redeems this weaker moment of the album, striving now for crunchy riffs and a driven undertone. Punky, poetic and cleverly executed, the track is reminiscent of ‘The Golden Throne’ on the debut LP, with a cynical yet intriguing edge to it, it is definitively another standout moment.
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‘In My Pocket’ picks up where ‘Oh! The Saviour’ left off, with the innocent yet crooked acoustic vibe. Muddled with the wonky lyrics Temples are renowned for (‘I was dropped on my head once as a child, twice as a man, three times as a cloud’) the track is an insight into the band’s surreal writing style which somewhat morphs the double-sided innocence and guilt of nursery rhymes together to create something very novel (see ‘Roman God-Like Man’ for a textbook case).
Concluding on ‘Strange and Be Forgotten’. what Temples have demonstrated on ‘Volcano’ is their innate explorative discomfort. Like the good and bad parts of a trip, what Temples encapsulate is riding the wave between both the highs and lows. Arguably this makes their ethos transcendental in a sense, but what lets them down (i.e. individual parts of the songs) is what makes certain tracks more memorable than others. Strange, or be forgotten indeed, but let’s not hope the band delve too far beneath their skins, nor show their hand too early, as both cases would be outright catastrophic.